Category Archives: Everything Else

Minimalism Journey Ramblings

When I re-branded my blog a few months ago, I wasn’t 100% sure where my posts would take me. I knew that I wanted to write and that I loved connecting with others through blogging. I was determined that this blog wouldn’t fade into the past (like so many have before), and that I would stick with this project. I painstakingly chose the title “Chasing Santee” after a place that is incredibly dear to my heart. I wrote the tagline “sweet and simple things of life” because I knew that’s where my heart was and where I hoped to take the blog. At that moment, though, I had no idea how I would get there or where Chasing Santee would lead.

At the time, I felt like my “niche” was shopping and finding deals. It had been such a big part of my life and a hobby I had enjoyed for a very long time. It was something I was good at, which I sometimes admitted sheepishly. I didn’t really love the fact that my talent was tied so closely to material things, and really didn’t line up with my personal values.  Even though it didn’t perfectly mesh with the “simple things”, I kept sharing the deals as I hunted them down. This was what my audience wanted, I assumed. This was what I enjoyed?

In an unanticipated metamorphosis I could hardly follow, I began to realize my perspective was changing. Slowly, at first, then much more akin to a rock slide, I began to reject some of the ideas I had been repeating to myself for years. “That purchase will make my life easier”. “This system will improve our day to day struggles”. “If only I had __________ I could better enjoy ____________.” I started to feel like I was finally waking up from a hazy dream where I just wasn’t seeing clearly. One minute I was stressed, overwhelmed and defeated. The next minute I was committed to becoming a minimalist.I was optimistic and confident. I can hardly imagine a more unexpected change.

When I started the Simplicity Challenge, I really wanted to call it the minimalism challenge. But I felt like that was too drastic, too extreme, and that maybe my readers would doubt my sincerity.  I was afraid to commit, knowing once I typed it in cold hard Helvetica 12, I wouldn’t be able to go back.  It felt like a decision too big for me, almost like moving my entire family across the country. Were we ready for this?

To say my mindset was transformed does not seem like an over-statement. I want to be authentic as a writer, so I truly try to live out my thoughts of changes of direction before writing. So you can know that I have been pondering this for awhile. Is it too much to say that God led me in this direction? Is it off-base to feel that by changing in this way I am closer to the heart of Scripture?

I know that only time will tell or prove that I have experienced a true change of heart. I am in no way preaching, or even suggesting this is the right change for anyone but myself. However, I am stunned at the weight that I have felt lifted in the last month. I never imagined a shift in perspective would change me so much.

If I were a really good blogger, I would have been taking before & after pics and vlogging every day and making tons of posts from each step of this process to help encourage everyone and motivate myself. But the truth is, I’m slamming through this process so quickly the thrift store can hardly keep up with me. I haven’t taken before pictures and I am not ready to post after pictures. I haven’t really made it to the point where I am able to give advice (but I will try anyway). I’m moving so quickly that I am a little dizzy.

My ultimate goal is to get our home to the point that I can photograph every nook and cranny of it. That I can know what we have and where we have it. That I can know the things we have kept are being used or bringing joy to us. That our possessions are actually getting us closer to our goals as a family. That we aren’t being hindered or held back by upkeep and cleaning. I want to be able to open my home at the drop of a hat and not feel that my stuff is in the way of people. Yes, in the past my stuff has been in the way of me fully loving my family and my friends and expressing the love of God to strangers.

Let me repeat this: In the past: jump ropes, crumb-filled toasters, building blocks, dog-eared books, tangles of costume jewelry, scratched CDs, dusty vases, stacks of photos, piles of unworn clothes, all of these THINGS have interfered with my opportunities to LOVE PEOPLE. And my heart is really broken about this.

To be continued

Review: Enso Silicone Rings

Not too long ago, I posted about my difficulty with jewelry and how much I missed wearing my wedding ring. I found a few options that I was interested in trying and Enso Rings was at the top of my list because of their unique designs and beautiful color options. I had high hopes that my sensitive skin might finally be able to tolerate jewelry if I found just the right alternative.

If you purchase items from these links, you’ll help me keep my blog running, plus you’ll give me a chance to do a happy affiliate marketing dance in my kitchen. THANK you for making that dance possible!

And I couldn’t resist this beautiful Stackable series!! (These beauties are $11.99 each or even cheaper if you buy a bundle!)

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When I contacted Enso Rings, they were very responsive (and super nice) and offered to send me a few rings to try out in exchange for my (always 100% honest) review. My shipment arrived very quickly (even for impatient me) and since then I have had two weeks to wear and use my rings.

Spoiler alert: I love them, even more than I imagined I would.

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After all, Enso Rings are “rings for active lifestyles” and who is more active than a homeschooling mom of three? (this is a rhetorical question, obviously lots of people are more active; what I mean is: who has to wash their hands more than a homeschooling mom of three? See? I gotcha there.)

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I want to tell you all the times I have worn my new Enso Rings and been 100% comfortable (even to the point of forgetting I am wearing them): when I washed the dishes, when I washed my hands a million times a day (and that’s every day), when I drove out of town (yes, I would take my wedding band off when driving. It just wasn’t comfortable!), when I pushed a heavy shopping cart all over Costco, when I pushed my son on the swings, when I changed diapers at church, when I played basketball with my kiddos, when I washed all the clothes, when I painted with the 3K class, when I helped my husband with yardwork, when I carried a concrete birdbath (don’t ask!), when I typed a zillion words for my blog, when I lifted weights at the gym (just kidding, I didn’t go to the gym. But if I had, I know these rings would have made it through with no trouble!)

Click here to check out the brand new metallics collection from Enso, it is breathtaking! These are definitely on my wish list!

Finally, I have really put these rings to the test these last couple of weeks as I have been hard-core de-cluttering and cleaning every day as part of my Simplicity Challenge!

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My Enso Rings are so super comfortable and pretty! At this phase of my life, when I am very deliberately shedding the things that caused my stress, these tiny lightweight little rings are like a symbol reminding me of my choice for simplicity and ease. I am so happy to put them on each morning (or even sleep with them since they are so crazy comfy!)! Thank you Enso Rings, for making my life more simple!

To check out the entire Enso Collection, click here!

 

A season of change: minimalism/simplicity thoughts & resources

Happy Labor Day  to you all!

I am still struggling to spend the time blogging that I’d like to, but I have been taking a brief time out to read, watch and think about simplicity/minimalism and what changes we want to make towards that end. I’m feeling super conspired (yep: convicted + inspired = conspired).

The last month has probably been our smoothest month of chores and household duties ever. The house has stayed neater and the girls have really done a great job stepping up with our new chore system (blog post to come). It’s been a lot of ground work (planning, list-making, reminders, etc) but we have been enjoying the benefits. Also, this has been our smoothest school transition ever and we have fallen into homework assignments, schedules and new curriculum with much more ease than in years past. (There have been a few tears, but MUCH less turmoil than anticipated. We are still human, and three of us are female).

In addition to that, we have joined a family group with our church that has been a true answer to prayer (especially for me). The truth is, parenting really put us in survival mode….a decade ago. I believe that’s a normal family phase but for various reasons we are just now pulling out of it. You heard me: ten years later. I could go on about this, but by God’s grace I do not live in the past. I am right now so grateful that God has helped us find the resources we needed to plug back in to the body of Christ, and it has been incredibly refreshing. We are also going through a wonderful series at church that I am honestly on the edge of my seat listening to; I mean, can’t wait to get to church, taking furious notes, thinking about it all week kind of sucked in. Like, praying to God to help me soak it all in kind of good stuff. I feel like I have been thirsty for way too long. I’m so so grateful!

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Finally, I feel like I am ready to work harder at being the best mom and wife I can be (rather than just managing to survive the rat-race of life). It’s very overwhelming, but I also know it’s the right thing! (note to self: the right thing doesn’t mean the easy thing). Deep breaths, this won’t be easy.

I have danced with the idea of minimalism for years. It appealed to me for it’s educational benefits, it’s mental benefits, it’s hygienic benefits; but I’m just starting to seek what the spiritual benefits could be for us. And I don’t mean becoming a yogi with a candle in the middle of a stark-white room, seeking enlightenment.

What I mean is, could shedding excess STUFF in my life equip me to better seek and serve God with all of my heart???? For me the answer is  undeniable, obvious, and crystal clear:

Yes.

I know that many of you are on the same page. If you are interested in this idea of having LESS for God, here are some of the resources I have been studying over the last few weeks.

Please read this article, it is so very thought provoking for me. (How Getting Rid of Stuff Saved my Motherhood by Allie Casazza). This isn’t a faith-based article, but as a Christian mama I’m still mega conspired by this. (Note: I do realize I am mis-using this word, but I would like to point out that my definition is much better than the common use, so I will continue).

Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne. To my memory this is also a secular book, but very inspirational and something I constantly reference mentally. I need to read it again in light of a new phase of parenting tweens.

Christian Faith & Minimalism from Nourishing Minimalism. Short and too the point. This article helps us ask ourselves, “what if?”

I have recently joined a minimalist/motherhood facebook group and I am loving the food for thought that is constantly tossed around. I was completely captivated by one mama’s statement about what minimalism had done for her family. Her statement was very simple, but so impactful to me: (paraphrasing) “minimalism allowed our family to adopt.” Period.

I don’t know what my family’s whole story will be. I don’t know if we will live all our days in this tiny house. I don’t know if we will continue to homeschool. At this time, it seems our family is complete and will not include any more children. Nothing is set it stone, we do not know what the future holds. BUT I know that God is not finished with us. I know that we have more glory to bring to Him yet. I know that we have more to give. I know that we have more worship, more love, and more to learn of His amazing grace. 

If having less stuff enables me to give MORE, then what is stopping me?

What if God wants LESS from me?

I would love to hear from you on this topic.

What’s in my Amazon Cart?

Let’s talk about alternative rings for those sensitive to metals or who work with their hands.

(Like other posts, this contains affiliate links for your reference)

I’m taking a little break from my simplicity series because some of those are taking a lot of work! (I mean actually doing the work of simplifying not writing the posts themselves). So without abandoning my vow of minimalism, I wanted to talk about some of the things I’m “shopping” right now.
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I’ve had issues with skin sensitivity since I was a baby, but ever since I had my ears pierced as a teen the problems got worse. I have tried hypoallergenic jewelry, medical grade metals, and Simply Whispers brand earrings (guaranteed not to irritate). None of those did the trick for my problematic skin, and the area would get itchy, swollen and inflamed. I finally came to the conclusion that I just couldn’t wear earrings at all and that I can only tolerate a wedding ring for short amounts of time.

When I did wear my ring, I was nervous and worried I would misplace it, snag it on something, or that the stone would fall out (sadly, this happened to me about 8 years ago on Christmas Eve..I still have flashbacks!). I wash my hands a gazillion times a day and take my ring off and leave it places….like the kitchen drainer or my parents’ house. I work part time at a school where there is paint, recess, and play dough gets squished into everything! Honestly, my lifestyle is really not compatible with my beautiful wedding set. So I basically stopped wearing it, and I felt kind of sad about that.

Alternative rings aren’t just for those with sensitive skin, they are also safer for anyone working with their hands and are great for traveling or sports.

I don’t think I need a ring to show that I am “taken”. (I’m pretty sure walking around with my entire family 99% of the time makes it pretty obvious I’m not “on the market”). But I do miss having that symbol because looking at my ring always made me smile a little. Just feeling that ring on was always a reminder of the blessing of marriage.

So I decided I wanted to find a silicone alternative. Here are some of the brands I am considering:

Accmor Three Piece Silicone Ring Set. Ridiculously cheap, and I like the thin silhouette of these. Only $7.99 for all three!

Rinfit Three Piece Silicone Ring Set. These are a little chunkier, but I really love the etched design. Only $14.97 for set of three!

AvectToi Three Ring Pack. I like the ridged design, but these look a bit thicker than some of the others. Only $12.99 for three!

ThunderFit Women’s Silicone Ring. Very simple single silicone ring with six color choices. $8 each!

Enso Stackable Rings: These are the thinnest silicone rings I could find and the design is very feminine. I’m not sure if stacking them could be an issue for me with keeping them dry but even one might look nice for only $11.99 each!

Anyone have a silicone ring? Please let me know if you have one to recommend!

 

Step 2: Assess Needs

Welcome to Step 2 of the Simplify Your Life Challenge! If you haven’t followed these posts, you can find the Introduction here and click here for Step 1. Step 1 was a long post and an even longer assignment. Eliminating excess is usually a huge undertaking. So moving on to Step 2 doesn’t mean we stop working on Step 1! Keep eliminating excess and simplifying your life one donation at a time!

Step 2 Assess Needs

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What are your family’s true needs? In discussing simplicity and organizing, someone made a comment on Facebook along the lines of this: “First, deal with the basic needs of your family: make sure sleeping, eating, bathing and laundry are covered”. I took that comment to heart and went back to the basics and the actual necessities of life. What do you need to address your family’s needs?

For instance, we were storing the dog food in the bag, rolled up with a plastic clip. It was messy and took extra time. I went right out and bought a large storage container that pours. Why didn’t I do that long ago? Mostly because my life was too chaotic to focus on areas of improvement. Once I began to eliminate the excess I could focus better on solving household problems and addressing true needs.

More examples that I discovered of “needs” in my home:

Coffee. I make coffee every single day, sometimes twice a day. It’s an absolute necessity, yet I had made the process ridiculously complicated through poor planning. My coffee pot was on the far right of my counter. About 6 feet over, my coffee filters were in an upper left cabinet. On the total other side of the room, my coffee was stored in my (child-locked) pantry. I wasted time and steps every single day making coffee and never even thought about it. There was so much excess in my home that I couldn’t even identify the problem areas right in front of me! I solved the issue  by putting all the coffee items together beneath the coffee maker. DUH. Now every morning I appreciate the lack of total stupidity that was previously ruining a good thing.

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Bathing. Bathing wasn’t exactly a problem area, but I realized it needed some attention. I hadn’t evaluated our basic hygiene routine in awhile so I pulled up good ole’ EWG/skin deep. I admit I had been procrastinating this step because I knew some of our products weren’t going to rate well and I was right. No more Suave blissfully cheap coconut conditioner, and no more using whatever cheap soap is around. We have officially switched to Babyganics line of bath products, which tends to rate low (which is good) at EWG. (I can personally recommend the bubble bath, shampoo/body wash, hand sanitizer, and lotion). For conditioner, I needed a product that was relatively inexpensive (we go through a lot), and relatively healthy. For now we are trying RenPure Originals (which is free of sodium chloride, sulfates, dyes, parabans, salts and gluten). It is rated 3 on EWG, which isn’t terrible and that’s good enough for me since it satisfied my other big wish: a PUMP bottle. Now we have all the products we need and have discarded all the products we aren’t using. The kids can help themselves with the pumps and the bathroom is de-cluttered. I also have to re-recommend color-coded towels which is such a big sanity saver! Each child has a color, all towels stay on their hooks until I grab them 1-2 per week to wash.

Some questions to ask yourself as you work on Simplicity at each step:

What items should be eliminated all together?

What items need to be moved to another room?

What do I like/dislike about this room and living/working in it?

What items are stored elsewhere but are needed here?

If I was walking into this room for the first time, what would I think?

Step 1: Eliminate Excess

If you missed the introduction to the Simplify Your Life Challenge, please check it out here. To make a long story short, I am simplifying to help manage my stress and household, so that I can focus on what really matters to me. I have a lot going on and I need the absolute best way to help my family succeed at life!

Simplicity to me means not just successfully surviving but thriving!

You can join the challenge by subscribing to my blog to keep up with each step. At the end of each step we will have a challenge and I would love it if you would join me and post your own progress! (Bonus points for any pictures you can take of your simplification status!) Now on to Step 1 and it probably won’t surprise you:

Step 1: Eliminate excess

 In 2012 I did a challenge with some friends to get rid of 2012 items that year. It was such an eye opener as I realized just how much excess our 1400 square foot home had. That was when I really began to acknowledge my issues with shopping and how the “stuff” was stifling us. What I learned that year really helped me to have confidence in getting rid of stuff this time around.

In a similar way this summer I have been going through every single room and purging, purging, purging. Ruthlessly selling, trashing, re-homing. I’m taking a hard look at items, making sure they are serving enough of a purpose to earn their keep. If not, out they go. For example,  in my living room, I had 10 throw pillows. TEN! On only two sofas .The truth was, every day was frustrating because they ended up on the floor. There wasn’t room for PEOPLE on the sofa! How many do we need? Not ten!

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The key here is purpose. I have lots of items that are useful (as in they can be used with success) but if they’ve been collecting dust on a shelf or packed away in a closet they do not have a purpose. Think of all the “gadgets” in your kitchen. Which ones are you actually putting to good use? Sometimes this means getting rid of perfectly good, useful items when you realize that the space and clarity they leave behind is more valuable than the footprint they occupy and the chaos they  collectively contribute.

I feel obligated to mention the wildly popular book by Marie Kondo: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I have read it, and I do recommend it for gaining perspective on clutter and minimalism. At the same time, I feel that her method introduces the risk of an extreme and almost compulsive distaste for possessions. I’m also somewhat uncomfortable with the animism that she endorses.

While helpful, her tag phrase: “Does it spark joy?” has encouraged many hilarious memes of housewives discarding their credit card bills and sweeping their homes of all vegetables or dirty laundry. After all, can everything really spark joy?

Well, what if everything around you truly did spark joy or contribute to a joyful existence? How would that change your life?

(Here is a post on whether or not Konmari really makes sense for families. I found the comments really helpful also)

If you haven’t read it already, I highly recommend the book Simplicity Parenting. I read it when I first started my parenting journey and I still think about it years later. It so beautifully explains how less is more in the eyes of children and how we can raise them with the gift of simplicity.

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This has by far been my most ruthless and therefore productive purging round, and I have to tell you that I am really happy with the results. If you are overwhelmed with where to start, I suggest  either A) attacking room by room or B) attacking category by category.

Uncertain?
If you want to get rid of items but are worried about needing them later, packing them into storage or the attic might be a good idea. Oftentimes it will be clear when you retrieve them a few months later whether or not they bring value to your home.

Donate
My advice is to find a charity or cause that you really care about and if possible, donate your items to that cause. It’s easier for me to let go of items knowing they are going where they are truly needed. An alternative is to host a yard sale and donate the proceeds to your charity of choice. Sometimes a “higher purpose” is all you need to encourage yourself to purge.

Persevere
Remind yourself that this first step, though overwhelming, will allow every subsequent step to go more smoothly. This could be an EPIC Weekend project or an ongoing, daily effort but either way keep your eye on the prize. Enlist help, get the kids involved, and don’t give up!

Resources:

Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne and Lisa M. Ross

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

10 Tips for De-cluttering by Peter Walsh (quick read with great tips for beginners!)

How to Declutter your Entire Home Going Room by Room by Elizabeth Larkin (awesome resource with clickable guides to help focus on results!)

Eliminate Excess Challenge:

Choose one room and commit to really eliminating all the excess from it. Look around and imagine how this room would look if it was void of any items that don’t spark joy or add value. Grab some boxes and bags and get to work!

Be sure to check out the other posts in this series:

Simplify Your Life Challenge

 

Simplify Your Life Challenge

As I approach Fall 2016 with the goal of “Simplicity”, I’m not going to lie: I’m scared. I know that I’m getting in over my head. Homeschooling is a huge responsibility and parenting doesn’t get any easier as the kids get older. So this year requires quite a bit of prayer, committing my efforts to the Lord, and surrendering the outcome. I am reminded that these children aren’t mine, they belong to our Heavenly Father! I’m very grateful for friends who have helped me to see this truth more clearly with their faithful, open-handed approach to parenthood.

(I am so, so slow at learning this truth: yes, He entrusted them to me, but they are HIS treasures, not mine).

In light of the “Fall Fear Factor”, I am working every single day at improving our routine and getting things set up for the School Year. The girls will be in 4th grade (I can hardly believe it), I’m writing on a daily basis, I will be working two days a week, my youngest demands constant attention and money is tight so we can’t afford to pay for convenience. I am also trying to work on diet and exercise for myself and cutting WAY down on shopping as a “hobby”. Here’s a post for BargainBabe that talks about my shift from Shopaholic to more of a minimalist (these are baby steps, for sure).

I’m tired of being pushed around by my responsibilities. I’m ready to push back.

Through this process, I’m seeking a more harmonious schedule that works for us, rather than the schedule working me to death (or just leaving me incredibly defeated).

I have gone through each room carefully and thoughtfully with the long-term goal in mind of cutting down on chaos and complications and smoothing out the day to day. I want to share with you some of my ideas and some resources that I found helpful.

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I want to mention right from the get-go that I am not an expert on organization, simplicity, home management, or discipline. Quite the opposite: these are areas that I really struggle with. Because these are weak points for me, I am working hard to improve them. In the past, I have realized blogging about my goals has really helped me to stick with the plan. So the “Simplify Your Life Challenge” is mostly for me as I work on improving our daily routine and seek simplicity! I hope some of you will be inspired to do the same, or at least encouraged that you are not alone if you struggle with this! In the next few posts, I’ll be getting down to the nitty-gritty of simplifying and challenging myself to commit.

Please SUBSCRIBE to my blog (top right corner) to join this challenge and get all of the Simplify Challenge emails right in your inbox!

Resources:

This is one of my favorite books about parenting and just life pursuits in general! It’s one that has really stuck with me nearly a decade after first reading it. Wherever you are in your parenting journey, I think you could benefit from reading Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne and Lisa M. Ross

My Pinterest Board! If you would like to be added as a contributor to this board, please email me at leahprescott@gmail.com. I’d love your feedback on Simplicity and what your goals are as well!

 

 

EASY Hard Boiled Eggs in the Instant Pot

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Did you know that you can make hardboiled eggs in the instant pot? No watching the stove and the finished product leaves you with eggs that peel so easily! My kids love hardboiled eggs, deviled eggs and even egg salad but I never found a cooking method I liked. I tried everything to make them easy to peel (add vinegar to the water, adjust cook times, time the cold water bath) and even started baking them in muffin tins in the oven but making them in the instant pot is by far my favorite method of all!hardboiled.eggs.instant.pot.2

All I do is add 1.5 cups of water to the inner pot, then put in a steamer basket or the steam rack and pile up the eggs. Seriously, just add as many as you want. I usually cook about 15. hardboiledeggsinstantpot

Set the manual setting for 5 or 6 minutes (personal preference). After they have cooked, give it another 6 minutes before you do a quick pressure release. Then add some cold water to the inner pot along with a bunch of ice and just stick it in the fridge to cool completely. You will LOVE peeling these eggs!

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Bunk Bed Bedding Reveal or How to Get Your Kids to Make Their Beds

My Quest for Bunk Bed Bedding

The links on this post are Amazon Affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I receive a tiny commission at no cost to you. 

If you had a chance to catch my post on BargainBabe.com last week, you will know that I was looking for a better bedding solution for my three little monkeys who all sleep in bunk beds. I wanted a way to make those beds look neat every day. In fact, my girls try to make their beds, but making a bunk bed is basically impossible even for an adult. (I’ll be honest, I’m not sure anything would entice my four year old to make his bed). I really do think starting the day off with a neat bed makes a big difference, so I was looking for a solution.zipitboymessy

 

With our budget, the only zipper bedding that really made sense was Zipit Bedding. I admit I had my concerns and the patterns weren’t particularly appealing to me, but they are reversible and the colors worked with our rooms, so I decided to give them a try. They are available on Amazon but I found an even better deal on Groupon (for two patterns)! Groupon’s site can be confusing, but if you click through my referral link, then search for “zip” you should find the deal.

Local friends, after I ordered I found an EVEN better deal on these in our area. Ask me for details if you live nearby!

On to the Review of Zipit Bedding:

ZipIt Bedding is a two piece set that zips together (plus a pillowcase). Piece one is a fitted bottom sheet with zippers along both sides (not at the foot). Piece two is the comforter with zippers along both sides to zip onto piece one. There is no top sheet at all. At first I thought that was weird and asked the kids if they missed it. They both told me that they usually kick their sheets down to the bottom of the bed getting them all twisted under the comforter. All my kids are wiggly sleepers so that made sense!

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We washed the new bedding and made the beds immediately and it WAS. SO. EASY. The whole thing goes on with the same effort of a bottom sheet. There was plenty of depth to fit any size of mattress (the girls are on thinner IKEA mattresses but my son’s is rather thick). Washing was very quick, and way less effort than washing all the various pieces of bedding we normally have. In fact, with my monster size washer I was very tempted to try all three at once.

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The first caveat I discovered about Zipit Bedding was that there are TWO different patterns for the Girl’s Rock Princess bedding. The tricky part was both sets look identical from the package but the reverse side (the chevron side we prefer) isn’t visible until you open the package! So originally we got two different patterns for the girls. We ended up appreciating the choice because we all liked one over the other so we exchanged it.

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The differences are set A has BRIGHTER colors with more white and a bright blue teal. Set B has slightly LIGHTER colors with less white space and a light mint in place of the teal. The reverse side is the same graphic but slightly different dye lots. We much prefer set B with less white space, but honestly both were pretty cute. 

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The set is polyester, so not as soft as cotton but my kids like it. It’s definitely not as stiff as the typical character sheets from Target or Walmart. All three children have been sleeping on these for about two weeks and guess what? Every day the girls have made their beds! My four year old son does not make his independently, however, when I direct him he can do it himself in no time. That’s a win!

 

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One of the drawbacks of ZipIt bedding was the limited patterns, but I have to say that the kids and I actually LOVE the chevron prints. The colors are great for our rooms and they are much more age-less than the reverse sides.

I seriously love Zip-It bedding!!! I walked past my girls’ room on Saturday morning around 8 AM and saw their beds neatly made! It’s amazing how something so small can be such an encouragement to a mama’s heart. Check out the selection on Amazon!

Budget Tween Room Makeover: Part 2

Twin Tweens

I’m sharing my budget “tween” shared twin room makeover because tweens are a tricky demographic. They want to be grown up, but they don’t bring in their own income! They want all their toys, but they also want their room to look sophisticated. Check out my first post to see what we started with. 

Here’s our purple progress so far!

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I have to get started by apologizing. I realized today that yesterday’s post was a little misleading because I really didn’t post any budget tips! I promise I wasn’t trying to create click-bait…I was just trying to break up the post into reasonable pieces and the room is, like I said, a work in progress. But I promise I do have some budget tips, and I’m going to jump right into them today. My first tip is probably not going to surprise anyone!

Thrift Whenever Possible

I don’t want to sound like a broken record (it literally *just* occurred to me that readers are going to start wondering what that phrase means! whoa. That along with blogging about having tweens is definitely making me feel old….) but thrifting is such a great way of filling in the gaps with awesome unique decor with way less investment! When you walk through a thrift store lookout for items that are perfect for:

Chalkboard Spray Paint

I like this one, Rust-oleum Chalkboard Spray Paint. $3.95 as an add-on item is an awesome price for this also! We have used this paint for shelves, coasters, and redoing old art into chalkboards. It’s got great coverage and is really easy to use!

Metallic Spray Paint

I plan to order this one, Rust-oleum Bright Coat Metallic Finish. I can’t wait to try this on some knick-knacks we already have around the house.

A Totally Different Use

Think about what items you *need* for your home and try to imagine how bargain items could serve the purpose.

Here is an example of a outdated 90’s style kitchen basket that we spray painted with Krylon CoverMaxx in Gumdrop. We applied about three coats (probably due to my extremely haphazard spraypainting style) but the basket turned out perfect for our purposes. I mean, tacky stuff in bright colors is just what nine year olds are drawn to, so really why would you pay a lot of money for something you can easily make yourself? (Of course, in retrospect, I really wish I had done this in gold because I think it would have turned out awesome but we already had the purple so it is what it is.)

 

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Check out my Pinterest board for all kinds of thrifted DIY ideas with tweens in mind. I will be back with more tips soon!

Don’t miss my other posts in this series!

Budget Tween Room Makeover Part 1
Budget Tween Room Makeover Part 3
  Bunk Bed Bedding Reveal

 

Budget Tween Room Makeover: In Progress

Twin Tweens

I’m sharing my budget “tween” shared twin room makeover because tweens are a tricky demographic. They want to be grown up, but they don’t bring in their own income! They want all their toys, but they also want their room to look sophisticated.

Always on a Budget

In case I haven’t made it clear, EVERYTHING we do is on a budget. As a one income family (let’s face it, I’m not exactly raking in the dough as a blogger) money is always tight and our poor old house is ALWAYS in need of something. Just when you think you have a little extra cash to work with, the van needs repairs….but let’s not get bogged down with reality.

Colors for Twins

A decade ago we found out we were having twins. At that moment, the doctor could not tell us the genders of the babies. We weren’t sure if we would find out in time, so we had to go ahead and paint the room for them. I chose a “guacamole green” thinking it would work for boys, girls, or one of each.  Once we found out they were both girls, we put up sweet little animal wall decals, butterfly growth charts and a sign that read: “Thank Heaven for Little Girls”.

decor

My sweet girls have shared the same room with the same cutesy baby decor up ever since and they were really hoping for a change. Actually, they were hoping not to have to share a room but again….reality. So with much discussion and debate, they chose a color. With a funny twist, it is very similar to the color I chose for my first “tweenage” room two decades ago. Appropriately, their new color is called”Sassy Lilac” from Valspar.

Sassy Lilac

Working on “Staycation”

My husband painted this week (on his vacation from work….what a loving Daddy!) and it is just as purple as they dreamed! When I asked them what they hoped for from a new room one of the big wishes was: more space. It’s an understandable request, they are homeschooled identical twin girls sharing a very small space and they spend a lot of time together.

American Girl has taken over our home

So we tried to clear out the area as much as possible, eliminating clutter and editing down the American Girl world that had become much larger than life. Seriously, this was their 18″ doll dollhouse before:

dollhouse

The KidKraft 18″ Elegant Doll Manor is on Amazon if you want to take a look. They really do love it.

Notice how what used to be two bookcases became an addition to the 18″ doll home? I’m telling you, those dolls have much more space than our family. Also, here you can see the “guacamole” paint and understand perhaps why they wanted to go for something a little brighter.

A more Grown-up Design

Next we wanted to find a cool piece of art to tie the room together. Exploring Homegoods, we found this black, white & gold print with “Do everything with love” on it.  The girls and I decided then and there that the accent colors for the room would be white, black and gold against the backdrop of purple walls. (And it was only $18 on clearance).

allthingswithlove

We are pretty happy with the direction the room is going in. I will post more updates as we go.

Check out more posts in this series!

This long, crazy week & “blog thoughts”

It’s been a long, crazy week, and it’s only Wednesday! The only reason I am not sipping a glass of wine right this second is that I am patiently leaving it in the freezer for just a little longer. I’m honestly thinking about pouring it over ice at this point.

I guess this week hasn’t been that bad. We’ve certainly had worse.

Like the Flu of 2013. Or that time my husband and I decided to re-wallpaper our bathroom in the heat of summer. Or the time I had to have a whole lot of expensive medical tests done just to figure out I still have the same diagnosis as before. Or the time that the check engine light came on in both cars the same weekend. 

A New Personal High

Monday Morning I reached a new personal high. On the scale. The frustrating thing is, I haven’t even been eating more, it’s just that the Prozac for my anxiety makes me gain weight. So not only do none of my shorts from last year fit, but as you can imagine being at my highest non-pregnant weight ever doesn’t help my anxiety either!

Then I tried to get the girls to work on math. As I’ve mentioned before, they don’t love math. Even though I had warned them that we would have some homework over the summer they melted down about it. From their extreme reactions you would think I asked them to copy down the entire Encyclopedia from A-Z. As homeschoolers they already skip a whole lot of busy work, so I when they act like this about some worksheets, it makes me a little crazy!

Being crazy makes me need Prozac. Taking Prozac makes me fat. Being fat makes me crazy. See the problem?

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My Biggest Fear

After the “new high”, Monday night I got all ambitious and decided I would conquer one of my greatest fears: going to the gym. I had just become incredibly intimidated by the thought of it, and had not set foot in the workout room in five years. But I was all worked up that night so I did the Elliptical machine for over an hour. I was so very proud of myself until about 11 PM. By the time I got to bed, I could barely move. 

For some reason, I thought exercising itself was the hard part, but I forgot that being incredibly out of shape makes for seriously sore muscles.

I barely slept until getting up at 3 AM for a bowl of cereal (no doubt more calories than I burned on the elliptical) and some ibuprophen. Not exactly a win.

Fun at the Pediatrician

Today I had to take all three children to the pediatrician; my older two are totally paranoid of doctors, my four year old had to get shots, I got scolded by the doctor for ignoring the standard vaccine schedule and the entire visit took two hours. The one redeeming moment was when the nurse, who has to be at least 65, carried on a very informed conversation with my son about transformers that totally distracted him from the shots. (Seriously, she knew the name of Optimus Prime!)

Anyway, thanks for letting me vent a little about my crazy chaotic week. I do have one little successful moment to share. I’m a contributor to a couple blogs as you know. Well, one of my posts from Bargain Babe went viral on Pinterest this week, getting re-pinned over 6500 times! I’m really excited and I admit there have been a couple times I’ve sat entranced while refreshing the page and watching the re-pins continue to rise. (Ok, yes that confession makes me a geek. ) Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to come back to earth when I remember I still only have two followers on my blog and I think they may both be….my parents. I hope your week is going better than mine! Please check back Friday for my Friday Favorites post!